Fender Sessions is a three-song set from a unique location that helps peel back the curtain on the creative process of artists around the world. Aimed at amplifying the voices of both emerging talents and established legends, Sessions gives artists a way to fully articulate their vision and mastery of their craft.
María and Josh Conway met at the Kibitz Room, an intimate live music venue attached to LA’s iconic Canter’s Deli. María was playing a stripped-down solo show. “It was just me and my guitar, and one of my friends and his guitar,” she remembers – and Josh was running sound. Within seconds of hearing María sing, he knew they should be making music together. “After the set, he came up to me and was like, ‘I really like your voice, I have a studio, do you wanna record?’” she says.
Soon after, The Marías was born. “With Josh, I feel like we complement each other really well, so it wasn’t a huge change for me,” María says of her shift from solo artist to collaborative band member. “And we’re always learning from each other, still. It’s always evolving,” says Josh. So too is their innovative sound – a mix of soulful, jazz-infused dream pop lacquered with María’s transcendent vocals delivering lyrics in both English and Spanish,
an ode to her Puerto Rican heritage. “I always knew that I wanted to have songs in English and in Spanish because it’s like both cultures make up who I am,” she says.
Growing up, music was king in both their households. For María, the guitar was a key figure in her childhood. She coveted her dad’s collection until she bought her own jet-black electric guitar on eBay at around 14 years old. “Music was always present in my house – my dad would always have a guitar and all birthdays, all holidays, there would be a parranda…at every single family gathering there was always food, and always music, and always dancing.” For Josh, one of his earliest memories is watching his older half-brother play in a band and thinking it was the coolest thing he’d ever seen. “I just remember being, like, four years old and seeing his silver sparkle drum set on stage and being like, ‘I want that in my life,’” he says.
Still, when it comes to their creative process, it’s the guitar that reigns supreme. “Guitar and piano are the only ways that we really write music,” says Josh. “I’d say most of our songs start with just guitar,” María continues. “At least for me, guitar is where I get most of my inspiration for melodies and song structure, and I’d say most of our songs start with just guitar because so much can be added production-wise. And production is an art in and of itself, but I think if a song can just be stripped to those two things – guitar and vocals – and still move people, then it’s a good song.”